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A Sand Archive - Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2019

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A Sand Archive - Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2019

Gregory Day

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Long before I ever met him I knew his name from the leaky desiccated type of a grey-brown slim volume, cheaply printed but essential to my research…

Seeking stories of Australia’s Great Ocean Road, a young writer stumbles across a manual from a minor player in the road’s history, FB Herschell. It is a volume unremarkable in every way, save for the surprising portrait of its author that can be read between its lines: a vision of a man who writes with uncanny poetry about sand. And as he continues to mine the archive of FB Herschell – engineer, historian, philosopher – it is not the subject, but the man who begins to fascinate. A man whose private revolution among the streets of Paris in May 1968 begins to change the way he views life, love, and the coastal landscape into which he was born…


“So beautiful, so subtle…a story told with rare tenderness and restraint. FB Herschell is one of the great characters of Australian literature.” Carrie Tiffany

“A bravura work” Michelle de Kretser

“Day has written a ripper of a novel here” Readings

“effortlessly combines the erudition of two rarely yoked disciplines: engineering and literature [and] harnesses technical language to convincingly lyrical ends.” Sydney Morning Herald

“The novel is an elegiac meditation on worlds changed by natural processes and human forces. Ultimately, through Herschell’s character, it provides a model for the kind of rigorous and poetic attentiveness that might best honour the profundities of our landscapes and the lives we experience alongside them.” The Saturday Paper

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